Arches National Park Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Arches National Park Junior Ranger web page:

http://www.nps.gov/arch/forkids/index.htm

The Junior Ranger Activity Booklet is available for free at the Visitor Center. The Arches National Park website states the activities in the booklet are designed for ages 6 – 12; however, the booklet has the following age levels:

Ages 4 -7: Complete at least four activities
Ages 8 – 10: Complete at least six activities
Ages 11 and up: Complete at least 8 activities

The booklet has age appropriate activities for each age level. Some of the activities included: Dot to Dot, Discovery Bingo, Rock Maze, Crossword Puzzle and Word Search.

To become a Junior Ranger, you need to complete the required activities and do one of the following:

  • Attend a ranger program
  • Pick up some litter in the park
  • Watch park movie at the visitor center

Once all activities are completed, return to the visitor center to have a Park Ranger check your booklet to receive your Arches National Park Junior Ranger Badge.
Arches Badge

A Junior Ranger Patch is also available for a small fee in the bookstore. The bookstore also had a Junior Park Ranger Badge Patch. This was the first time I had seen the Junior Ranger Badge Patch. The patch can be purchased at http://www.cnha.org.
Junior Park Ranger

My family visited Southeast Utah the week of March 28, 2010. Ou first stop was Arches National Park on March 28, 2010. Prior to our arrival, I had made reservations for the Fiery Furnace tour. It is recommended that for first time visitors to the Fiery Furnace take the tour and I am glad we did. I will talk about that a little later.

When we arrived at the visitor, the girls picked up their Junior Ranger Activity booklets at the information desk.

While the girls were getting their booklets, I picked up our tickets for the Fiery Furnace. While waiting to watch the park movie at the visitor center, which we always try to do, we attended a ranger program called Table of Wonders which was presented by Ranger Rob Lorenz. After the program Ranger Lorenz spent several minutes talking and answering questions. His presentation was very informative and he connected with the girls and held their attention. It was apparent that Ranger Lorenz enjoys his job.

After watching the park movie, we drove into the park and stopped at the Balanced Rock. I wonder why it doesn’t fall over? After that we drove up to the trail head of the Fiery Furnace and ate lunch while we waited for our tour guide.

Our tour guide was Ranger Dick Toll. The tour was about 3 hours long. You can go into the Fiery Furnace with a permit after watching a safety video in the visitor center. As I stated above, I am glad we took the tour. There is no way we would have seen some of the sights without a tour guide, plus there were parts of the trail that I would never even think of being part of the trail. The trail is not marked and there is so much to see. There were a few parts where you had to slither between two walls, using your hands, feet and butt, because you couldn’t walk on the ground. I actually had to put Samantha, our five year old, on my shoulders, because there was no way she would have been able to get through on her own. There were hidden arches and bridges we probably would not have seen without a guide. It was a great site and should not be missed.

After the hike, the girls finished up their booklets and we returned to the visitor center. During the tourist season, Arches National Park has a Junior Ranger Station in the afternoon to facilitate the review of all the junior ranger booklets. We arrived after the station had been closed. Volunteer Sara Evans, who was a Student Conservation Association Intern, reviewed the girls books. Sara spent a lot of time with the girls and then posed for pictures after they took the Arches National Park Junior Ranger Pledge. When we were done, Sara informed us about the Red Rock Ranger program. If you visit at least two National and one State Park in the Southeast Utah region you can also complete the Red Rock Ranger program. I will go into further detail about the Red Rock Ranger Program in a separate posting.

We had only planned on visiting Arches one day, but decided to return on March 31, 2010 for another hike. Alyssa wanted to see Wolfe Ranch and we wanted to hike to Delicate Arch.

Prior to going on the hike, we went back to the Visitor Center, as Alyssa had completed the Red Rock Ranger booklet. Ranger Lorenz reviewed Alyssa’s book. Ranger Lorenz informed us that Alyssa was his first Red Rock Ranger. Again Ranger Lorenz had great interaction with the girls and it was obvious he enjoyed reviewing her booklet. After taking the Red Rock Ranger pledge, Alyssa received a Red Rock Ranger patch. I will post a picture of the patch in the Red Rock Ranger posting.

According to the Arches National Park Guide, the Delicate Arch hike is considered a strenuous trail and is a 3 mile round trip. The girls completed the hike with little difficulty. It was a very windy day and when we got to Delicate Arch, I lost my hat to the wind. So remember hold on to your hat. What a beautiful site. I am so glad we decided to return. On our hike back, we stopped to look at some petroglyphs near the cabin and then checked out the cabin. Be sure to pick up a Wolfe Ranch Trail Guide to learn the history of Wolfe Ranch and the petroglyphs.

There is so much to see in this park. We would have liked to visit one more day and go on a few more hikes. We will be back.